Bangladesh maintains friendly relations with the Republic of Austria. Austrian people stood by the people of Bangladesh in 1971 during its War of Liberation and Austria recognized Bangladesh on 04 February 1972. Immediately after the Liberation War of Bangladesh the then Austrian Ambassador in New Delhi had contributed to preparing the first comprehensive report on the economy of Bangladesh which, in fact, became the basis for international financial assistance for the reconstruction of the war ravaged economy of Bangladesh. This has been the cornerstone of Bangladesh-Austria relations.
In spite of good relations and mutual understanding on various international issues, there has been rather minimum level of contacts between the two countries till mid 1990s. In the late 1990s and early 2000s there had been some exchange of visits at the secretary/ deputy minister level between the two countries. Former Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, MP visited Vienna in February 2013 to attend a multilateral event (UNODC) while the visit from Austrian side is practically nil.
Although there had been earnest efforts on both sides for having Bangladesh resident´s diplomatic Mission in Vienna. However, it was 1st November 2014 Bangladesh opened its resident Mission there, which has been sincerely welcomed by the Austrian Government and it’s widely viewed as an important step towards reinvigorating the relationship between our two countries.
The bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Austria is over US$400/00 million and Bangladesh export to Austria is around USD 360 million (Per Aus statistics). However, the trade figure posted by EPB of Bangladesh is much less, which is in the vicinity of US$ 100 million with Bangladesh’s export of US $60 million. Although bilateral trade between the two countries is growing steadily with Bangladesh ready made garments topping the list of the products traded, there is further scope for increasing Bangladesh export to Austria with export items like leather products, home textiles, handicrafts, frozen food, pharmaceuticals etc. Similarly Austrian export to Bangladesh could be expanded through export of Bangladesh demand for textile machineries, renewable power generation technologies and the like. To that end this mission is earnestly working on the exchange of trade delegations. It is expected that an Austrian trade delegation may visit Bangladesh in 2016.
There is no significant investment in Bangladesh by Austrian entrepreneurs. However, this mission has already launched Bangladesh Business Breakfast with the support of provincial chamber of commerce and industries with a view to attracting Austrian investors to invest to Bangladesh in the sectors like renewable energy, tourism development, physical infrastructure, waste management, wood industry, paper products, agro-food processing etc.
Currently, there exists no such agreement/ cooperation of Bangladesh with Austria. However, Bangladesh side has already shared with the host government a draft MoU on cooperation in field of agriculture and livestock, and a draft agreement on the cooperation in the field of culture, science and technology. When signed, the MOU and the Agreement will help transfer of technology into Bangladesh through our students’ studying technology and attending scientific seminar/ workshops by our scientists and researchers as well as by exchange of visits of researchers and scientists.
Bangladesh Mission has embarked on developing cooperation with Austria in the field tourism. Under this framework, tourism education in Bangladesh would be promoted by way of developing effective tourism training facilities in Bangladesh with Austrian expertise and of having got trained our students in Austrian tourism training institutions as well as through exchange of faculties .